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How to become a judge

British Dressage operates a comprehensive training and assessment scheme which enables judges to progress up the levels, or ‘lists’ from preliminary to the heady heights of judging grand prix tests at championships.

Many trainers and riders use the knowledge they have built up to progress into a judging career. It has been said that becoming a judge helps with test riding and coaching skills as well as the general understanding of the way of going of the horse. British Dressage currently has just over 1,600 judges, this includes approximately 600 trainees.

To view the current Education and Examination System Policy for British Dressage Judging please click here 

For more information or to talk to someone about your specific requirements please contact the Training and Education Department (tel: 02477 087801)  

How to become a Trainee Judge
There is no criteria to meet in order to become a Trainee Judge but you must be a Full or Premier Club member. If you would like to be visible on the 'Find a Judge' page on this website you will need to have attended an Induction day. Induction days are organised in each region and will cost £20 to attend. There after we ask that you attend a seminar for your level every year. There is a registration fee of £10 and your registration will be valid for two years. As of 3 June 2019, the Trainee Judge registration fee will increase to £15 annually. Trainee Judges are required to attend an induction day within their first year of registration, but will be required to attend an annual seminar thereafter. This is part of the requirements to be eligible to judge. For further clarification, please do not hestiate to contact the office. 

To apply to become a Trainee Judge online using bookwhen please click here  

To book onto Judge Testing

  Please note that the new exam policy is now in place, and so any judges wishing to upgrade must have been at their current list for a minimum of one year before coming forward.   

Autumn Part 3 Exams
The Autumn Part 3 dates have now been confirmed. Please see the dates and venues listed below:

  • The Scottish National Equestrian Centre, West Lothian – Thursday 22 August 2019
  • Vale View Equestrian, Melton Mowbray – Thursday 19 September 2019
  • West Wilts Equestrian Centre, North Trowbridge – Thursday 17 October 2019

As mentioned previously in the Judge Newsletters and the communication sent after the last exams, bookings for the Autumn Part 3 exams will run through a priority booking format. The priorities are detailed below:

  1. Candidates with Part 1 and 2 exams due to expire, and on the spring waiting list
  2. Candidates on the spring waiting lists
  3. Candidates with Part 1 and 2 exams due to expire in 2019 and have not yet attempted Part 3
  4. All other candidates - open booking

As each booking stage opens, all judges within that priority will be notified. Details about dates of the booking stages will be released in the July Judges’ Newsletter.

We will operate a waiting list following the final stage of booking. Should spaces fill before all of the priorities have been addressed, we will operate a waiting list at an earlier stage.

We are working with examiners to find ways to maximise the number of candidates on the days available. The location of the venues have been selected based on a mapping exercise of the above priority categories so we were able to select venues closest to these candidates.

Reasonable adjustment
If you believe you may require a reasonable adjustment for your exam, you need to notify British Dressage at the time of your booking. Please email the training and education department here
 with the reasonable adjustment form completed and supporting documentation in the form of a signed letter from either your doctor or a formal letter from the relevant disability/support group. Please click here for the reasonable adjustment form. 

FEI Judge Exam
Bookings for the FEI judge exams have now closed. We wish the very best of luck to those coming forward. Please keep an eye out on this page, and in the judge newsletters for updates on the next exam opportunities.

Evaluations and assessments
Oral evaluations and shadow judge sessions are conducted by our Tutor Judges. To find a list of our current Tutor Judges, please click here.

Please note fees are applicable for these services.  These fees are detailed in the new judge testing accreditation document and are also listed at the bottom of the Tutor Judge list.

How to become a Para Judge
If you are a list 3 judge or above you can now become a para judge by following the new for 2019 Para Judge Pathway! As our para community continues to grow, we really do need more para judges to support this growth and following this pathway could not be simpler. 

How to become a Music Judge
In our recent newsletter, we confirmed that you'd be able to complete a test paper in order to become a music judge. The Judges’ Committee has taken the decision to make the process of becoming a music judge more accessible and flexible to all judges and the following guidance is intended to further clarify the requirements.

Existing music judges
If you've attended a Music Seminar before 1st December 2017 you can continue to judge music classes and will not be required to sit a paper to continue to do this. Neither will you need to sit a paper every time you upgrade to a higher list.

Potential new music judges
If you've recently become a listed judge or you have not yet attended a Music Seminar but you now wish to judge music classes, you'll be able to take a test paper at a time and place to suit you. This is as an alternative to attending a Music Seminar and not in addition to.  Once you've completed the paper, you just need to return it to the BD office for it to be marked.

How to access the music test paper
You can book online to order the Music Judge Test Paper through

There are 3 different papers which are appropriate for the following levels; Novice/Elementary, Medium/Advanced Medium and FEI Level. These test papers are available at a cost of £20 and can be booked at any time as there is no closing date.

If you do not achieve the required 70% to pass the paper, you can re-sit it for an additional fee of £5, which can also be booked through the following link  

Learn from the world's top judges
The International Equestrian Federation's publication FEI DRESSAGE HANDBOOK Guidelines for Judging, has been written by some of the most experienced FEI dressage judges. It will help with understanding scores and the criteria outlined in the FEI Dressage Rulebook. It is available 
here from the British Dressage shop.